The year is 1765. A marathon card-playing session is underway ina London club. One famished player, John Montagu, the fourth Earlof Sandwich, orders a bit of salted beef between two slices oftoasted bread. Within a few short years, the tasty and portablesandwich, as it came to be called, was the favorite food of workingpeople all over England.
More than two hundred years later, sandwiches have become anAmerican fast-food staple. Sandwich chains such as Subway andBlimpie have thousands of outlets nationwide; sandwich franchisescan even be found in exotic locales like Saudi Arabia and Taiwan.While the market for sandwiches seems to be very close to becomingsaturated, according to retail and restaurant marketing consultantRay Coen, the truth is there's always room at the top forrestaurants offering higher quality at a correspondingly higherprice. "In every [fast-food] category, after the initialexpansion, there comes segmentation, because the only way to grow acategory beyond a certain point is for new entries to develop adifferent position [for themselves]," says Coen. "Upscalesandwich shops are definitely identifying a new segmentposition."
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